62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2001
I bought an earlier version of this book way back in 1996. I had just gotten my first job and I was looking for information on how to manage money and to find out how much I could "afford" when buying a car and/or other expensive stuff. This book helped with all of that. It helped me understand the basics of personal finance, loans, insurance, 401(k), etc. There's lots of good advice in there, so I'd certainly recommend buying this book. The information is this book is beautifully organized and very easy to digest.
Unfortunately, I haven't learnt a whole lot about personal finance since reading this book. I've read numerous books on personal finance after this one. All of them tend to say more or less the same things as this book, but they haven't said it as well.
Bottomline, if you understand the basics of personal finance (such as the principles of compounding, the importance of investing early in a 401(k), why it's bad to have credit card debt, etc.), you can probably afford to skip this book. Otherwise, it's a must have.
85 of 94 people found the following review helpful
This updated version of Beth Kobliner's work (5/2000) can help the folks in their 20's and 30's get a handle on their finances. Even with a college education, most students fail to come away with sufficient knowledge on how to manage their dough. This book is an easy read, not filled with useless info. There is special emphasis on paying off college loans, getting credit cards, buying a car, and financing a first house or apartment. Things that you really need to know. The main chapters include: Figuring out Where You Are and Where You Want to Go, Finding the Best Loans and Getting Yourself Out of Hock, How to Get the Most from Your Bank for the Least Amount of Money, All You Really Need to Know About Investing, Living the Good Life in 2030 !!, Getting an Apartment or House of Your Own, What Insurance You Need and Don't, Finding the Right Policies and Forgoing Coverage You Don't Need, Making Your Life Less Taxing. There is info on using the Web to help you save, spend and invest wisely, how to refinance your high-rate debt and avoid hidden fees and traps, taking advantage of the latest tax breaks- including deductions for student loans, and planning your long range savings program. In addition, there are details on car leases, credit reports, mutual funds, and more. A wealth of information available for less than 12 bucks. Highly recommended. A great gift.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2002
I bought the original edition of this book after seeing Ms. Kobliner on a morning news program. I was rather uninformed about my finances at that point. I had several thousands of dollars of credit card debt, was about to finish grad school and get married, and didn't have a job waiting. Worried about merging my bad financial life with my future husband's relatively well-organized one, I bought this book.
Together, my husband and I read it and developed a road map for what we thought we needed to accomplish. It gave us the basics to get our financial life on track, including paying off all the credit card debt (we carry none at all), getting a mortgage, buying a new car, and starting retirement plans. Now that we arethinking about insurance, starting a family, planning for college funds, etc., this was the first place I thought to turn for well-seasoned advice.
This book covers a lot of topics in an accessible format, but I acknowledge that for someone who is already aware of their finances and has some knowledge, it may be repetitive. But I always find myself wanting to go back to it when I have questions--so today I'm buying the updated edition, and letting a financially challeneged friend keep the other one.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2003
Finally, a book that doesn't assume your money woes are allowing your heirs to intherit their trust funds with as little tax as possible, finding the best long term care insurance, or how to save money by clipping coupons and doing every house project yourself. (I even read a book on frugality once that suggested getting a goat, because you won't have to mow your lawn anymore and you can have fresh milk everyday)
How about a book for someone who knows that the best time to invest is when you are young, but is intimidated by the purposefully complicated langauge of the financial world? That would be this book. It is written very comprehensively, occasionally so much so that it feels a little "dumbed down", but that is okay.
Get a financial life starts with the basics of the basics. Setting up a checking account and an emergency savings fund, and avoiding bank fees while you do it. I couldn't help but to think, if you are in your thirties and don't have a checking account yet, you need more help than this book could provide...but anyway, this book then goes on to cover credit cards, auto insurance, health insurance, 401k plans vs. IRAs and Roth IRA's, mutual funds. It does it in a way which is not so dry to read that you feel like falling asleep, and not so demanding that you know you will never be able to accomplish your finacial goals without spending your life huddled over a calculator.
I would gladly loan this book to anyone who is going to be on their own for the first time. You HAVE TO know this stuff if you are going to make it in the real world.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 1998
First, I would like to disagree with the two extremely negative commentators that found this book patronizing. Although this book is obviously intended for beginners, I don't think Kobliner intended for anyone to take the beginner level content personally. For example, Kobliner did not insinuate that Gen. X-ers can't use credit cards responsibly. For those who can't, however, or for those who feel overwhelmed with the amount of debt they have taken on, Kobliner provides the financial framework for knowing why you should pay your credit cards as soon as possible. I think that the summary of the book & the cutesy cover should have given these two readers a clue that the book was intended for those with a limited financial background. Lynch would be terribly heavy reading for people unfamiliar with the business world.
That said, I found this book very informative. Obviously, personal finance is a vast subject and so this book serves as a brief overview of such topics as different types of bank accounts, paying your student loans back, saving for retirement, what to look for when renting an apartment, and how to buy a house. I bought this book a couple of months before my dad cut the purse strings and I graduated from college. Although I majored in accounting, I learned mostly theory in school. I found the investing content particularly informative and I opened my IRA ASAP. It is now been a little more than a year and I do think that I have "outgrown" most of the subject matter, but I still use this book for reference. When I buy a house, I will now know about the different types of mortgages and how much I should set aside. Of course, if schools taught personal finance, I wouldn't need this at all.
I do agree, however, that this book needs to be updated, if not for the creation of the Roth IRA alone. That is the only reason I'm not giving it five stars. Internet resources would be helpful, too.
I would recommend this book to people who are starting out in life (early twenties) or to those in their mid to late twenties who have no clue when it comes to personal finance. I plan on giving a copy to my younger sister for Christmas. I would not recommend this book to anyone in their thirties, though, despite what the cover says. I think the only topic that a thirty-something might find useful would be the house-buying chapter. Here in San Francisco, though, that is how long it takes to save for a down payment on a house, so you might not even need it in your neck of the woods.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2003
My father bought this book for me and it's been absolutely great to read and take notes from. It isn't deep, it isn't complicated, but it does have some very good information in it. I'm 21, about to graduate from college, and admittedly don't exactly have the best financial practices in the world. This book has already helped me get more organized and on-the-ball with my finances, though, and I think it's something I'll keep around as reference for some time. A previous reviewer complained that the book is shortsighted and only targeted at people in their 20s and 30s. Well, so what? If you want more in-depth, there are more than enough books out there to cover all the things you could possibly want to know. This isn't meant to be a guiding light for your personal finance from now until you die. it is meant for younger people and it serves them quite well, I think. It's not a limitless resource or something for people already well-versed in good personal finance management. If you're looking for a handy book with practical, real-world advice, though, then this should serve you quite well.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2000
It is a very easy read - and can either be read cover-to-cover, or you can read which chapters you think will help you most. I have had a hard time trying to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad (as it is rather boring), but this book was a great read. It really helps you understand different financial terms and how it effects you. Also, (not to be a dork, but...) it kinda empowers you by showing you how you can control your finanical situation - no matter if you make $10,000 a year or $100,000 a year.
I really, really recommend this book - it completely helped my husband & I figure out how to manage finances post-college and how to better our situation. Which also helps our relationship, because we don't have to argue about money - we developed a sound financial strategy which we both understand. I am not going to pretend it didn't take 7 months of mistakes to realize how important some things are :) Some things you just have to learn on your own!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2000
When I got out into the "real world" at age 21 I was a financial wreak. I didn't know ANYTHING! I spent and spent and spent and when I realized that the my bank account was nothing like my parents I knew that I had to get help.
I heard the author give an interview about the book on a local morning talk show and it sounded like the help that I needed.
I've read this book cover to cover twice and have often used it as a reference tool. This is a great book...well written...and brimming with useful pertinant information. I've recommended this book and have actually bought it for a friend that was financially lost.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2004
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book served me well as an introduction to the fundamentals of personal finance. By following each step before moving on to the next, "Get a Financial Life" helped me formulate a financial plan and make it a reality. I repaired my credit, bought my first house, paid off my student loans, eliminated my credit card and automotive debt, and created a way to save/invest 28% of my gross monthly income. It required a few years of sacrifices on my part, but I credit this book with teaching me the "how, what, when and whys" of financial freedom.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2002
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this book when I was in college and 4 years later I still refer to it when I'm in need of information. Kobliner outlines the basic, yet pretty important, financial topics. Definitely good for beginners, maybe not for those with a complex understanding of finance. Regardless, if you feel out of control, this book will help.
I found the following information the most helpful:
Chapter 2 - Taking Stock of Your Financial life
Chapter 6 - 401K Planning
Chapter 7 - Renters and Homeownership
Chapter 8 - Insurance
Every 6 months I refer back to page 42, Kobliner's guide to what financial information you need to hang onto and what you can throw out now.
Overall great information (but you need to apply it to make it work for you)!